English Language Arts (ELA)

Although our main curriculum at Olney Bissell School is the Montana Common Core Standards we do have a fantastic English Language Arts program called Wonders by McGraw Hill.

Each week’s lesson can be found here:

Each Unit has a theme or Topic Concept.

Our first theme is Think it Through and it is broken into 5 Sections titled

Each section has an essential question that will help students develop a deeper understanding of the topic concept.

Our first essential question is

What can stories teach you?

When students are discussing the will share with a partner. Here is a pdf of the speaking checklist.

We use a D.E.A. routine for learning Vocabulary words.

  • D= Define
  • E= Example
  • A= Ask

Define the meaning of the word. For example enormous means very big.

ExampleUse a word in a sentenceThe enormous elephant towered over the animals at the zoo.

Ask Answer one of these questions:

  • What have you seen that is enormous?
  • What words mean the same or nearly the same as enormous?
  • What words mean the opposite of enormous?

I have seen an enormous squash in my garden.

Synonyms: huge, giant, colossal, tremendous 

Antonyms: miniature, tiny, very small

Each week we will focus on a different

  • Comprehension Skill like character, plot, setting etc
  • Comprehension Strategy like visualize, predict, ask and answer questions, reread etc


Each week we will focus on a different genre:

  • literature
  • fantasy
  • realistic fiction
  • biography
  • poetry
  • fairy tale
  • non-fiction

Spelling Words

Each week the spelling words will follow a specific phonics pattern increasing in difficulty throughout the year.

We will read 3-4 stories for each section that highlight each skill. Your child should be able to access all the stories at home on the McGrawHill ConnectEd site.


Students will practice different grammar skills each week.

Annual Fluency Goals

Tell students that fluency involves three key aspect of reading: rate, accuracy, and expression. Explain the following:

  • Rate The rate at which we read is important. We need to read at a pace appropriate for the level of text difficulty. In Grade 3, the goal by the end of the year is to read 97–117 words correct per minute (WCPM). Explain to students that you will be testing them on their rate throughout the year to meet this goal. Rereading previously read passages and stories is one way they will increase their rate.
  • Accuracy Correctly identifying words is key to skilled, fluent reading. Explain to students that the work they do in phonics and word study will help them read longer and harder words. They will also use the Syllable Speed Drill on Start Smart 8 Online PDF to help them become automatic at reading those words with more complex spelling patterns or words that have irregular spellings.
  • Expression Fluent readers read with proper phrasing and intonation, or prosody. They read dialogue the way a character would say it. They speed up when the action in a story gets exciting, and they slow down on difficult parts of text. This means that the reader is decoding and comprehending the text at the same time, the hallmark of a skilled, fluent reader.
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